Thursday, August 03, 2006

Central London

Walking through Green Park on this morning, I am pretty sure, Dad and Flo had no idea what my friend, Kevin, and I had in store for the day. Sure, I had given them a brief overview of the agenda, but I had left-out a few salient points about the plan. I had to have some surprises.

Kevin met us at 09:30. My day started with a surprise when a complete stranger walked up to me outside my house and showed me a winning lottery ticket. He just walked up and asked me if it looked like a winning ticket. I checked his numbers, and I'll be damned if he didn't have all six numbers. I suggested he probably didn't want to show it to every stranger in the street. But I digress...

Kevin drove us up to Hyde Park and we (and a tour group roughly the size of the population of Minnesota) walked to Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guards. It was full of pomp and pageantry and it was all the better because Kevin had arranged to have us see it from inside the gates! We were standing behind a girl scout troop from Canada, but we were still closer than the people with the obstructed views outside the gates of the palace.

After the ceremony, we visited the police station which is under St. James' Park. Kevin introduced us to a mate of his on the force who accompanied us to Downing Street for surprise number two. He had arranged for us to walk up to number ten to have our photo taken in front of the prime minister's residence. Unfortunately, that plan had to be postponed until later in the afternoon because the Prime Minister was to be holding a press conference; he delayed his vacation to the Caribbean because of the war in Israel.

So since we could not see number ten right away, we hopped onto the tube and headed over to the Tower Bridge station. Kevin had arranged via a mutual friend of ours to get tickets to the Tower of London. So we had a lovely lunch overlooking a harbor off the Thames and then toured the Tower of London.

Here, Dad realized that the thing he has always wanted was a horse and a set of armor. In the hall of armory, it was obvious that the thing he really wanted was to get into a suit of armor. He spent more time looking at the armor than anything else in the White Tower.

The tower tours were interesting but they ate up more of the afternoon than we had budgeted. So, deciding that number ten was nothing more than a blue door with the number "10" hanging on it in brass, we decided to skip it and took the tube back to the nearest station to Kevin's car. We returned to Thames Ditton to have drinks with Terry and Angie at the Albany overlooking the Thames. We ran all day, I am sure we will sleep tonight!

I hope that wherever you are today, your day is full of pleasant things to do with people who are dear to you!

Don Bergquist - 03 August 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

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